Big Aussie wheat crop flagged

08 Jul, 2016 02:00 AM

CROP forecasters have put in estimates for the 2016-17 Australian wheat crop between 26.1 million tonnes and 26.7mt, up markedly on last year’s 25mt crop.

Even at the lower 26.1mt figure put out by the National Australia Bank the crop would rank as one of Australia’s top five on record, while the 26.7mt figure released by Rabobank would be in the top three years ever should it come it at that level.

Rabobank grain and oilseeds analyst Ben Larkin said his company’s numbers were based on an increase in yield, rather than acreage.

“We expect plantings to remain similar to last year, but we have raised our average yield to 2.09 tonnes a hectare.

At present, analysts are reporting near perfect conditions across the majority of Australia’s grain belt.

In Western Australia, agricultural meteorologist David Stephens said the wheat crop was threatening to challenge the record yields of 2003, when the overall average was 2.25 tonnes a hectare.

“As of June 27, with an average finish to the season, we predict yields of 2.15t/ha, which would rise to 2.19t/ha should the seasonal weather predictions, for slightly wetter conditions, come to pass,” Dr Stephens said.

“Similar to 2003 the rainfall has been above average in autumn, and below average in June in the southwest which has prevented too much damage from waterlogging.”

“A record could be reached if an above average August to October is received.”

Phin Ziebell, agricultural analyst with NAB, said his company’s forecast could rise with a kind spring.

“Our central case estimate for the 2016-17 Australian wheat crop is 26.1mt, based on rainfall to date and average rainfall in major cropping areas for the rest of the season,” he said.

“However, our high case estimate, based on 20pc above average winter rainfall, points to a national harvest of 27.1mt.”

Mr Larkin said the only glitch to an otherwise perfect start was a small area in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, which got off to a slow start before recent rain.

He said this meant some areas slated for winter crop would now be left fallow for a winter crop in those regions.

Elsewhere, Mr Larkin said the season to date was near ideal.

He agreed with Dr Stephens’ assessment of the NSW crop.

“Conditions in Western Australia couldn’t be better, with the majority of the state’s cropping regions recording between 100 and 300 millimetres of rain between January and May.”

Mr Larkin said most of southern New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia had also had the rain to facilitate a full planting program.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Jock Munro
8/07/2016 3:39:02 AM

What guarantee do Australian producers have that the crop will be sold in an acceptable time period now that the industry is firmly in the hands of middlemen merchants that have no obligations other than to maximise their own financial returns?
8/07/2016 11:59:31 AM

When are Aussie growers going to realise they're sitting on a 26-30mmt crop with a sizable carry in? We're miles away from being competitive on the world market. Sell it!
8/07/2016 3:44:11 PM

You can add to that Jock, "and minimize their own risks" meaning leaving all risk with the growers (and others). Crops are headed for records globally so EU will dump prices as usual under their heavily subsidised system of farming. Don't expect to see much price encouragement from the multinational traders next year.
Jock Munro
8/07/2016 7:49:37 PM

I waiting for an answer deregular?!
11/07/2016 10:07:51 AM

Last week we were told by the leader of Australia's (acclaimed) grain producer group to hold onto our wheat till 2017 "with hopefully better prices". If that is the plan we have to replace our once worlds best wheat marketing arrangements, it is a disgrace. How any grower could vote for such irresponsible leadership is beyond me.
Philip Downie
12/07/2016 7:26:40 AM

LTF what else have they got to say, maybe "sell now it wont get better", but those are about the only options and deregulation allows farmers to make their own decisions about what to do.
12/07/2016 10:25:43 AM

On what basis is this the fault of the "evil merchants" and also somehow caused by the demise of the AWB?!?! Get a grip on reality people; we live in a global marketplace driven by supply & demand whether we like it or not, and trying to somehow pin it on the evil traders is just utter rubbish......the market is the market and the "middlemen merchants" are price takers like the grower. Sell direct to consumers if you think you are getting ripped off, there is more than enough transparency to do it. The simple facts are that globally we are producing big crops on big crops.
Jock Munro
12/07/2016 12:00:02 PM

LTF, Grain grower representation is shot to pieces. A corporate tops down approach in most cases. Such a pity when compared to days past.
12/07/2016 1:50:27 PM

You talk global reality grainer. There are a lot of global realities being overlooked. One is that Australia is far from global reality. We have highly regulated industrial award systems that are totally out of step with lowest production, processing and servicing costs globally. In EU and USA where this exists, growers are assisted to compensate. Elsewhere, except Australia industrial and labour costs are lowest global based. We have the worst of both worlds as producers and our leaders are standing by while the world passes our farming by.
Jock Munro
12/07/2016 8:12:03 PM

Okay grainer but who is responsible for selling the Australian crop?no one. Who is responsible for maintaining our quality standards?- no one. Who liaises with customers and who ensures that growers are receiving the right information on what to produce?- no one. This is your free market- What a sham!
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